There’s no thing as ‘just a toe’

By Jessica Brodie

One of my favorite indulgences is taking a nice, warm bath. But sometimes the bathwater feels scalding, so I dip a toe in, wait for my body to adjust, then slide in a foot, then a leg. Soon enough my whole body is submerged.

I’ve become adjusted to the temperature, so now I can handle it.

But reading the Bible, it struck me that the way I acclimate to my steaming-hot bathwater has much to do with the way our lives can sometimes too quickly spiral into sin.

Sin can be an uncomfortable word for us. Growing up, though I was raised as a Christian, the concept of sin wasn’t discussed much in my church or home. We tended to focus more on the “Jesus Loves Me” aspect of Christianity, or the “Because I Love Jesus I Want to Love Others” aspect. I didn’t pay a great deal of attention to how poor behavioral choices or less-than-pure thoughts might be linked to my faith. Sure, I knew I wasn’t supposed to murder someone, steal, tell a major lie, or cheat on a test. Everyone knew that. But I didn’t really see why it was such a big deal if I said a bad word here or there or told a little fib to preserve the feelings of a sensitive friend.

Yet here’s the thing: Sin is defined as when we offend God. It’s when we put something of the world before God, or when we take the easy, feel-good path instead of the right or honorable one. It’s breaking any of the Ten Commandments, yes—but it’s also stepping just an inch this side of the light by doing things we know in our heart Jesus would not have done.

After all, everything we do, think, say, and feel should be at one with our Creator, and our Creator God is nothing but good.

In the Book of James, we are reminded, “Everyone is tempted by their own cravings; they are lured away and enticed by them. Once those cravings conceive, they give birth to sin; and when sin grows up, it gives birth to death” (James 1:14-15 CEB).

It’s that proverbial slippery slope. Cravings—which stem from self—lead to temptation, which lead to sin and ultimately death.

Paul said something similar in his letter to the early Christians in Rome: “The night is almost over, and the day is near. So let’s get rid of the actions that belong to the darkness and put on the weapons of light. Let’s behave appropriately as people who live in the day, not in partying and getting drunk, not in sleeping around and obscene behavior, not in fighting and obsession. Instead, dress yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ, and don’t plan to indulge your selfish desires” (Romans 13:12-14).

We are to stay in the light, Paul cautions.

Today, my prayer is that I can resist dabbling in sin, even just a toe. For as with my warm, luxurious baths, “just a toe” leads easily to “all in.”

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